Men, Be Mindful of your Prostate

Dr. Troy SukkariehOther than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.  Approximately 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime. Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men. About 6 cases in 10 are diagnosed in men aged 65 or older, and it is rare before age 40. The average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66.  Risk factors for prostate cancer include:

  • Gender. Only men are at risk.
  • Age. Men ages 50 and older are at higher risk.
  • Race and nationality. Prostate cancer is more common in African-American men.
  • Family history. Having a father or brother with prostate cancer greatly raises a man’s risk for the disease.
  • Diet. Men who have a diet high in red meat or high-fat dairy foods and low in vegetables and fruits may have a greater chance of getting prostate cancer.
  • Obesity. Obesity has been linked with a higher risk of a more aggressive type of prostate cancer.
  • Chemicals in the workplace. Men who are in contact with toxic chemicals at work may have a higher risk for prostate cancer.
  • Genetics. Men with certain inherited gene changes are at higher risk for prostate cancer. But only a small amount of prostate cancers are strongly linked to gene changes.

The American Cancer Society recommends that men have a chance to make an informed decision with their health care provider about whether to be screened for prostate cancer. Discussions about screening should take place at age 50 for men who are at average risk, age 45 for men at high risk including African Americans and men who have a first-degree relative diagnosed with prostate cancer younger than age 65 and age 40 for men at even higher risk those with more than one first-degree relative who had prostate cancer at an early age.

Prostate cancer can be a serious disease, but most men diagnosed with prostate cancer do not die from it. In fact, more than 2.9 million men in the United States who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point are still alive today. Prostate cancer may be treated with different types of surgery depending on the type of cancer, where it is, how much it has spread, and other factors. Surgery removes all or most of the prostate gland.  Advances in surgery have greatly improved outcomes and patients’ experiences with surgical intervention in recent years. Robotic-assisted surgery to remove the prostate utilizes only a few tiny incisions. This type of surgery enables the patient to potentially benefit from a faster recovery, shorter hospital stay, less bleeding, less pain, less risk of infection, smaller scars, and quicker return to normal daily activities when compared to traditional surgery.

Regardless of the treatment used when cancer is diagnosed, men should be aware of their prostate health. Men, be mindful of your risk factors, and as you get older make sure you have a discussion with your health care provider about prostate screening so that cancer can be diagnosed early.


Troy Sukkarieh, M.D., is a board certified urologist and part of the Center for Robotic Surgery at Hackensack Meridian Health Raritan Bay Medical Center – Old Bridge. He is fellowship trained in advanced laparoscopy and robotic surgery and provides care for women and men.  Dr. Sukkarieh’s office is located in Suite 110, 2 Hospital Plaza, Raritan Bay-Old Bridge. For an appointment, call 1-800-DOCTORS.


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